Weird Airplane Security Risk: Pilots' Bathroom Breaks

Cockpit doors are secure, until they get opened
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2011 3:18 PM CDT
Weird Airplane Security Risk: Pilots' Bathroom Breaks
A three-quarter-inch steel bar is installed on a cockpit door in an undated photo. But what about when the pilot needs a bathroom break?   (Getty Images)

Cockpit doors these days can withstand the mightiest of charges, but they're still vulnerable because of a very human reason: Pilots need to go to the bathroom. That means the door gets opened during flights, and even those brief few seconds are enough for determined hijackers to get inside, writes Abraham Tekippe at the Atlantic. The FAA is aware of the issue but so far hasn't required airlines to remedy the problem with secondary barriers or some other solution, though some are experimenting on their own.

"Right now, we don't see a need for it," says a spokeswoman. Others in the industry disagree: "Just like in medieval times, the castle is secure until you open the drawbridge," says a commercial airline pilot and former chair of the Air Line Pilots Association's security panel. "If you don't have a moat or something else around to add a second layer of security, then you have some vulnerabilities." Click to read Tekippe's full overview. (Read more airplanes stories.)

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